This is the final installment of our Gospel Series. The last couple weeks we’ve looked at some of the foundational beliefs about what it means to follow Jesus and what one actually believes if they should choose to follow Him. We’ve looked at truths like the fullness of God dwelling in bodily form (that’s Jesus). We saw that the reason God came to Earth was because of His love for us and He was going to show us what the Father was like. Last week we saw that Jesus had to die. It’s only through the death of Jesus that you and I can be saved.
Today, we come to the biggest stumbling block of all… The Resurrection.
I’m from a small town called Mooresville, Indiana. It’s a nice little town and it’s not known for much. However, the town has one major claim to fame. The infamous outlaw John Dillinger grew up there.
Here’s how one writer summed up the end of Dillinger’s life:
Outside Chicago’s Biograph Theatre, notorious criminal John Dillinger–America’s “Public Enemy No. 1″–is killed in a hail of bullets fired by federal agents. In a fiery bank-robbing career that lasted just over a year, Dillinger and his associates robbed 11 banks for more than $300,000, broke jail and narrowly escaped capture multiple times, and killed seven police officers and three federal agents.
Dillinger is known as one of the greatest criminals in America and the government poured lots of money and resources to capturing him. His story is one of the greatest manhunts in our history that has taken over books, papers, and even Hollywood. Some believe that he was never killed, but escaped and the manhunt for Dillinger never truly ended.
The Dillinger manhunt was a big deal… The Jesus manhunt is a bigger deal. In fact, for the last 2000 years, people have been dying to know, “What happened to the body.” Because there is no refuting that Jesus went into the tomb for three days, but three days later his body was gone. There’s TONS OF HISTORICAL EVIDENCE that supports this claim.
The body was for sure gone. The manhunt was and is underway… I guess the question for you is, do you believe the evidence or do you believe the skeptics?
Because if the resurrection is true, then Jesus has made His claim on you. There is no indifference to Him. If Jesus resurrected from the grave, then He truly has all authority on Heaven and Earth.
Through the resurrection Jesus shows His power over sin, death, and the grave. Through the resurrection Jesus was announcing His cosmic dominion over every created thing both in Heaven and on Earth. Through the resurrection Jesus shows us that He is King. And we had better obey the King.
Philip Yancey writes,
"In many respects I find an un-resurrected Jesus easier to accept. Resurrection makes him dangerous. Because of the empty tomb, I have to listen to his extravagant claims and can no longer pick and choose from his sayings. Moreover, Resurrection means he must be loose out there somewhere."
So the idea of resurrection does not allow us to be indifferent to Jesus… If He did in fact rise from the dead, He lays claim on our lives. He must be listened to and He must be obeyed. However, it’s about more than our allegiance to Him.
If Jesus has resurrected from the grave, then that means there is hope for you and I. Paul would call Jesus the first born of the dead and the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. If Jesus is first, that must mean there is more to come! For the Biblical writers, the resurrection of Jesus was that which they hung their hat on… It was the reason they did what they did! Because the resurrection of Jesus means that there is life after living!
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15,
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
If you want to find Jesus, it starts by trusting in the Resurrection. It starts by following Him with your life and trusting that He has in fact risen from the grave. And when You realize that He has truly defeated the grave, it no longer becomes a manhunt. Because you will feel that peace and love that comes over you reminding you that He’s with you. You realize that His wisdom and commands are good because He’s been where you are. And you’ll soon realize that He’s been sitting at the right hand of the Father telling God how much He loves you the entire time.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.